Archive for the ‘SEO Basics’ Category

Basic SEO Final Chapter

[ Basic SEO: OneTwoThreeFourFive ]

Basic SEO 1-4 was intended to be a quick lesson for web site owners that want to get some basics out of the way before they put a pro “on the job”.  You should continue to create good content. You should also be ready for intermediate SEO work which includes link building. If you aren’t ready to hire a pro then I am listing more advanced articles for you to continue on your quest for the Holy Search Grail. Keep in mind, just like some people will never be able to solve computer hardware and software issues some of you will never be able to perform good SEO. I know there are some popular posts right now about SEO being easy enough for a cave man, or it’s all a scam but it’s really like any profession. Some people excel at it and some don’t and never will.

Read More on SEO:

SEO Basics – Aaron Wall from SEO Book gives a more in-depth look at the basics.

Beginners guide to SEO – Hobo SEO has a nice PDF you can download for SEO beginners.

—David Blizzard

Basic SEO For Everyone Chapter 4

[ Basic SEO: OneTwoThreeFourFive ]

header elementsIf you read chapter 1, 2, 3, then welcome back. If not then you can read SEO Basics 1,2,3 here.
Let’s look at the heading element. There are 6 levels defined H1 – H6. Let’s keep it simple, you should have one H1 on each page and it should be a well crafted description of the entire page content. Yes, I am aware that Matt Cutts said you can have multiple H1 elements on a page. He didn’t say you should, just that you can. Without too much detail I say if you have the content for two H1 tags on a page then you might have enough content for two pages.
You can have multiple H2 elements and normally they would be the title of each section on the page.  H3-H6 can be used in each section to define subsections. When used properly the heading elements create an order that is easy to follow. It sounds like a lesson in HTML but it is very useful in organizing content. The search engines understand headings and they love organized content, so will your readers.

Back in the day (1 year ago?) people were big on keyword density. It was abused and it has been addressed. As usual, good content that reads well works best. Yes, you should do keyword research and you need to use keywords in your content but there isn’t a magic number you need to hit. Let it read natural.

What about copy writing? You can optimize copy after it’s written but it’s usually easier if you keep search optimization in mind while you are writing new content. Have someone that is not afraid to tell you the truth read your copy. If you aren’t good at it then get someone else to do it even if you have to pay for it. It doesn’t have to be great, it just needs to offer what your visitors are looking for and it needs to be easy to read unless your target audience is all propeller heads or Kris Kristofferson.

added: If your headings don’t include your primary keywords for that page then you might have a structure problem. I am not talking about going back and spamming the headings. If you didn’t naturally include the primary keywords in the heading elements then you should re-evaluate the need for the page.

Move on to advanced SEO.

—David Blizzard

Basic SEO For Everyone Chapter 3

[ Basic SEO: OneTwoThreeFourFive ]

As promised this will be about onpage and under the hood SEO basics. Starting at the top (of the html) we have the……… nope not the title, first let’s take a look at the Doctype. What does the Doctype have to do with SEO? Almost nothing but why not start out by telling the spiders what type of page you attempted to make and what type of code you are trying to write? It can’t hurt and might help them parse the page better. If you aren’t sure what the Doctype is then run over to the web standards authority and check it out and also read SEO and Validation.

OK, now the Title, what makes a good title? How is it used? The title will show in the title bar of most web browsers. There are not really any good statistics I’m aware of for how many people look at page titles when they are on your site but when they search, they are generally served your title in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). We also know that Google, Yahoo, and Bing look at and put enough weight on your page title that it really matters. You can change your page title and only your page title and watch some of your search positions change, that’s how important the title is. If that’s true then why not SPAM the title? Simple, if I need a jack and the search results at position 4 is Jack : Lift : Heavy : Duty : Ultimate : Hydraulic and the position 5 result is The Ultimate Heavy Duty Hydraulic Jack by the JackMan then which one do you think gets more clicks? Another reason to make good titles is because the algorithms are very good at detecting SPAM and chances are you will do more harm than good if you just create stuffed titles. Moving on let’s decide what the page is about and craft a good title for humans and bots. For humans we need to strive for a complete sentence that makes sense and draws attention or demands action. Pick the topic of the page and try to get the main keywords or phrase in the first half of the title. Wow! All that in less than 70 characters including spaces, good luck. Good titles can be  a challenge but you will be rewarded for your effort. Try it, pick a product or service and try creating a title that would make you click it. After all, that is the goal, we want clicks because clicks equal traffic.

What about the page description meta tag? The search engines will most likely use your description to form the SERP description. Don’t copy the title, don’t use special characters. Include the main keywords or phrase for the page content. There is no penalty per se for a short description but you might be missing out on some keyword opportunities. Too little content could get a bot generated description that misses the point of your page. Take the opportunity to sell your product, service, or idea and use between 30 and 150 characters as a guideline.

The once powerful and now dusty and often forgotten keyword meta tag can still be useful so don’t completely neglect it. Put in your secondary keywords and key phrases, the ones that aren’t in your title and description. Limit duplicate words in phrases to 3. You can even include common typos. You can use up to 500 characters as a guideline but that’s probably more time than it deserves. I can’t tell you what search engine spyders still look at the keywords meta but there is some indication that Bing (Formerly MSN – Live Search) will grade your keywords but the weight is probably very low.

Well, I’m out of time so we will get to heading element, page content and copy writing in the next chapter.

—David Blizzard

Basic SEO For Everyone Chapter 2

[ Basic SEO: OneTwoThreeFourFive ]

In Basic SEO Chapter 1 I discussed domain name age and registration as well as redirects. Now let’s take a step back for those that don’t have a domain name yet. What should it be? Some suggestions I see are company name, company name padded with a keyword or phrase, and keywords separated by dashes. My personal preference is your “real” business name for a main site and NO dashes. It looks more professional, it helps brand your company and you don’t lose traffic to a competitor because a prospect forgets to include the dash. As of this writing there is proof that search engines give extra weight to words in a domain name but there are other ways to rank for keywords so why choose a name for SEO reasons only? A good example for not using your company name would be a company that sells widgets, if they can afford a name like then this could be very beneficial for search and most important it is easy for customers to remember. Good luck with finding a single word domain, the days of inexpensive common word names are long gone with the exception of a few non-DotCom names. If you are planning a site that is not for promoting a business entity then you might want to use keywords for your domain name. I suggest trying to pad it with local terms like the city or state you are targeting and the items or service you will be promoting. If you use dashes I would limit it to one. If you are buying a personal domain name try to get your first and last name.

What top level domain should you purchase .com .org .net .us ? If you are planning a business site then you should try to purchase DotCom. If you advertise your domain name or tell it to people there is a very good chance by the time they try to find you on the net they will type it as a DotCom even if you told them it was DotNet. They will also leave out the dashes so beware when choosing a name. If you buy a DotNet it’s probably because the DotCom was taken so you are automatically sending the DotCom domain owner traffic just by the nature of how people think and browse. The same is true with a dashed domain name. Your best choice is a name that you can secure the DotCom and the DotNet for.

Let’s move on to URLs (file and path names). Should you pad them with keywords? Simple answer, yes. Don’t go all out spamfest but it does help with search and navigation if your primary topic is in the URL. Try not to use more than two dashes. Keeping it less spammy is future looking in case the natural search stops giving credit for stuffed URLs. It is definitely a turn off for some visitors that associate the tactic with spammers so I advise against using more than two dashes. When creating URLs make sure you like them even if there was no search benefit. Does it provide value to the user or your sitemap?

Should you use an underscore in a URL? Almost always the answer is no. Unless you use a term that requires an underscore naturally then you are better served by using dashes.

That’s it for Chapter 2. Be sure to tune in for Chapter 3 where I start talking about your titles, description, and keywords.

—David Blizzard

Basic SEO For Everyone Chapter 1

[ Basic SEO: OneTwoThreeFourFive ]

Basic SEO, what is it? I consider basic SEO the easy stuff, the gravy, but it is often overlooked. Let’s start at the top.

Domain Name: The longer it has been active the better but wait, how long before it expires? If your domain name expires in 2 or 3 months then you might be penalized. It makes sense doesn’t it? If you waited that long to renew it and you aren’t willing to get off your wallet for more than a 1 year registration then you might be losing points with the search engines. Are you letting it expire? What if a potential client does a little Whois research and sees that your domain expires in 20 days? Stop being cheap and cough up a few bucks for 2 or more years registration fees.

Domain Names: If you have multiple domain names pointing to the same website then be sure to have your webmaster set up a permanent 301 redirect. If you don’t then you might be indexed as multiple, separate, websites and that’s not good for a few reasons including duplicate content issues. This is well known but what about vs ? Yes, some search engines might index these as two different sites. It makes sense doesn’t it? Replace “www.” with “blog.” and you see what I mean. Imagine you have 25 inbound links to your domain name with www and 8 without the www. You had no control over those inbound links. People found your site, thought it was worth linking to and they created the link without any input from you. You can try to look up or track those inbound links, contact the webmaster, beg them to add the www, or you can have a permanent 301 redirect and the search engines can do their job. You could use Google Webmaster Tools to inform Google that you want them to index with or without the www but that only takes care of the issue for one search engine.

This is one more area that you have control, take advantage of it and go fix those domain name issues, then come back for the next chapter. If you need to choose a domain name then you need to read chapter 2.

—David Blizzard